The Faithful God
From Gospel Translations
“After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: ‘Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great’” (Gen. 15:1).
- Genesis 15:1–21
Our study of Hebrews 10 highlighted the importance of our perseverance in faith to the end of our lives. Before we move on to Hebrews 11, we will spend the next week looking at what it means to have faith and how faith is to be operative in all stages of our lives with the help of the teaching series Living by Faith by Dr. R.C. Sproul.
Unfortunately, many Christians have an inaccurate view of what it means to have faith. Many believe that true faith comes at the cost of our minds and at the cost of reason. God, however never calls us to give up our intellectual faculties when we believe in Him. He never calls us to trust in Him as if there were no evidence for His existence or as if there were no good reason for us to trust Him.
On the most basic level, we put our faith in God for one important reason, namely, He is trustworthy. Blind faith is superstition and is trust in something that is not trustworthy. Such blind and irrational faith is not what God calls us to have. Rather, we place our faith in God precisely because He is trustworthy.
We know that God is trustworthy primarily because of the evidences that He has given to us throughout Scripture. One of these evidences is found in today’s passage. In Genesis 15:1–21 we find the story of how God demonstrated the trustworthiness of His promises to Abram. In this passage Abram expresses some concerns that God may not give him the Promised Land (v. 8). God tells Abram to cut up some animals and lay their carcasses side by side with a path in between them (vv. 7–11). At sundown God passed between these pieces in the form of a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch (v. 17).
You may remember that this past June we discussed this event in the context of the ancient Near East. When covenants were made in that region, the parties to the covenant routinely did what is described here. Passing between the dead animals signified that death would come to the person who did not fulfill their covenant obligations.
Notice that in today’s passage, only God passed between the animals. He promises to be destroyed, cut off, if He does not keep His word. And since we know that God cannot be destroyed, this event is a sure sign to Abraham — and to us — that God will always keep His promises. So, then, the Christian trusts in His trustworthiness.
It is easy for Christians to talk about the trustworthiness of our God. Sometimes, however, we discuss God’s faithfulness openly without really believing that He will fulfill His promises to us. Look at your life to find areas where you need to trust God more, and pray that the Lord would increase your trust in Him.
Passages for Further Study